NY-19: In Fundraising Email, Teachout Calls Faso The GOP ‘Frontrunner’

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout is already looking past both party primaries next month and onto the general election.

And, based on a fundraising email her campaign released on Tuesday, she sees this as a race between her and Republican John Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader and lobbyist.

In the email, she decried the financial support on Faso’s behalf, including that of Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager and prolific GOP donor.

“For John Faso, it just takes a wink and a nod and his Super PAC sponsor writes a big check,” Teachout wrote in the email. “This is the reason I’ve spent my career fighting money in politics — it breeds politicians beholden to special interests instead of the public interest. When I ask you for $5 or $10, it’s because this is what we’re up against. I rely on your help.”

Both Teachout and Faso face challengers in next week’s primary: Democrat Will Yandik and Republican Andrew Heaney.

A TWC News/Siena College poll released earlier this month showed both Teachout and Faso leading by double digits.

Should they win their primaries, voters in the 19th congressional district would have a choice between two former gubernatorial candidates. Faso ran as the GOP nominee in 2006; Teachout sought the Democratic nomination in 2014.

Interestingly enough, Heaney early on suggested Faso’s resume as a former elected official and lobbyist would make it difficult for him to run against Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who has written extensively about money in politics.

Updated: Heaney spokesman David Catalfamo responded.

“Zephyr Teachout and the Democrats are salivating for a chance to run against the hedge fund owned lobbyist John Faso who was in the middle of one of Albany’s biggest pay to play scandals – Republican voters want to keep this seat and will cast their vote for Andrew Heaney,” Catalfamo said.

NY-19: Heaney Poll Finds ‘Wide Open Race’

A poll released on Tuesday by Republican Andrew Heaney’s congressional campaign found a “wide open race” for the 19th district primary against John Faso.

“As they did with Donald Trump, establishment billionaire boosters are trying bury the Heaney campaign in lies and half truths and buy John Faso an election he could never win on his own. These efforts have clearly stalled and with two weeks left two go voters are faced with a clear choice between a conservative outsider or a career politician and lobbyist,” David Catalfamo.

The poll found Faso leading Heaney 37 percent to 28 percent. Still, the 9-percentage point gap is smaller than the one found in a Siena College/TWC News survey that found Faso leading Heaney 50 percent to 28 percent among likely Republican voters.

A Faso-backed poll showed him leading 51 percent to 32 percent in the Hudson Valley congressional district.

The poll from Heaney was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and surveyed 400 Republican primary voters. It was conducted from June 8 through June 9.

NY-19 June 2016 Polling Memo by Nick Reisman

NY-19: Faso, Teachout Hold Double-Digit Leads In Primaries

Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout holds a double-digit lead in her primary contest against Will Yandik, an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found.

On the Republican side, former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso also holds a double-digit lead against his challenger, businessman Andrew Heaney, for the GOP nomination in the 19th congressional district, the poll found.

Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor, draws support from 53 percent of registered Democrats, while Yandik, a deputy supervisor in Livingston, has 23 percent among likely voters. At the moment, 24 percent of voters have not made up their mind or have no opinion.

In the Democratic primary, 50 percent of voters say they are “absolutely certain” they have made their selection for the upcoming race. Of those voters, 53 percent say they are voting for Teachout, while 42 percent back Yandik.

Teachout is making her second run for elective office, having run for the Democratic primary for governor in 2014 against incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Teachout has sought to court county party leaders as well as those who support Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has a 72 percent favorable rating among Democratic voters polled in the district. Hillary Clinton, however, is virtually tied in favorability at 76 percent.

Yandik still has some work to do on his name identification: 53 percent of voters say they don’t know or have no opinion when asked if they have a favorable impression of him.

On the Republican side, a heated primary battle has erupted between Faso and Heaney.

Faso leads Heaney 50 percent to 28 percent among likely Republican voters, while 23 percent responded don’t know or have no opinion.

Forty-seven percent of GOP primary voters have a favorable view of Faso, while 30 percent hold an unfavorable view. For Heaney, he is underwater: 29 percent hold a favorable view; 45 percent take an unfavorable view of him.

Faso has slammed Heaney for donating to President Obama’s first campaign in 2007, while Heaney has sharply criticized Faso for his work as a lobbyist after an unsuccessful run for governor in 2006 against Eliot Spitzer.

Faso has sought to line up support from county leaders, while Heaney has eschewed that process in the lead up to the primary while also embracing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump is popular in the district, with 65 percent of Republican voters holding a favorable opinion of him, while 31 percent hold an unfavorable view.

A plurality of voters, 47 percent, say they are absolutely certain who they are going to vote for in the GOP primary.

Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican first elected in 2010, is retiring from the Hudson Valley congressional district at the end of the year. After initially testing the waters for a gubernatorial run, Gibson has decided to take a teaching job at Williams College in Massachusetts.

The 19th congressional district has been considered a key battleground for House races and has drawn national attention for the amount of money poured into campaigning in part due to no one media market dominating the area.

Gibson remains popular in the district among Republicans and Democrats alike: 86 percent of GOP voters hold a favorable view of him, as do 60 percent of Democrats.

The poll of 431 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from May 31 through June 2 and has a margin of error of 4.7 percent. The poll of 436 like Republican voters has a margin of error of 4.8 percent.

GOP CD19616R Crosstabs by Nick Reisman

DEM CD19616D Crosstabs by Nick Reisman

NY-19: Faso Releases Internal Poll Showing Primary Lead (Updated)

Republican congressional candidate John Faso on Monday released an internal campaign poll showing him with a double-digit lead over Andrew Heaney in the GOP primary contest.

The poll from McLaughlin and Associates found Faso leading Heaney 51 percent to 32 percent, while 17 percent of voters were undecided.

The poll also found Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader, has a 46 percent favorable rating among Republican voters in 19th congressional district. Heaney’s favorable rating stands at 28 percent.

“John Faso has done a very good job defining his positive conservative message for the election,” the polling memo states. “While Andrew Heaney’s negative campaign has created a significant lead for John Faso with just three weeks to go in the Republican Primary for Congress.”

The race for the 19th congressional district’s Republican primary has been a heated contest, with Faso knocking Heaney’s contribution to President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007, while Heaney has sought to portray Faso as a party insider.

The Hudson Valley district is being vacated this year by Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.

Updated: Heaney campaign spokesman Dave Catalfamo blasted the poll’s findings.

“This poll is as credible as John Faso’s ludicrous claim that he was not the lobbyist who was fined and banned for his role in the Hevesi pay to play scandal,” he said.

ny19poll by Nick Reisman

NY-19: In Ad, Heaney Decries ‘Political Correctness’

The latest TV ad from Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney decries “political correctness” at the New Paltz planning board, which had voted earlier this year to not begin meetings with the pledge of allegiance.

The ad is the latest effort by Heaney to seemingly tie himself tonally — albeit in a more buttoned-up way — to Donald Trump.

“We need to say the pledge of allegiance, keep dangerous people from countries like Syria and Iran out, and protect our right to bear arms,” Heaney says in the ad. “We either have a country, or we don’t. I’m small businessman and political outsider Andrew Heaney and I approve this message because its time we put America first.”

Heaney’s previous ad released in the race for the 19th congressional district touted his similarities to Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, namely as both men being political outsiders.

Heaney is competing for the Republican nomination in the Hudson Valley district that is being vacated by GOP Rep. Chris Gibson.

NY-19: Heaney Happy To Tie Himself To Trump

heaneytrumpThe conventional wisdom for Republicans running in down-ballot races this year has been this: Donald Trump, the GOP standard bearer this fall, should be kept at a distance given his inflammatory rhetoric aimed at women, Mexicans and Muslims.

Not so for businessman Andrew Heaney, who is locked in a heated Republican primary battle for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

Instead of running away from Trump, he’s embracing him.

Heaney in a TV ad released this week linked himself to Trump, simultaneously attempting to catch some of the populist wave Trump is generating and knocking his GOP opponent, John Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader and lobbyist.

In doing so, Heaney appears to be banking on the establishment being a far more toxic label than being dubbed a Trump Republican.

“John Faso’s friends made the same attacks against Donald Trump,” the ad’s narrator says.

The video then turns to a split screen of Heaney and Trump.

“That’s because Donald Trump and I represent everything that John Faso and his cronies hate,” Heaney says while stadning next to a picture of Trump. “We won’t take special interest money and we can’t be bought.”

The 19th congressional district could be an interesting laboratory for Republicans reckoning with Trump as the presumptive nominee. Trump today receive the needed delegates to clinch the nomination.

The district has been represented for the last three terms by Rep. Chris Gibson, a moderate Republican who had expressed unease with Trump’s candidacy.

At the same time, Gibson was able to successfully win re-election by comfortable margins to a district that voted for President Obama in 2012 (the district was reshaped during that year’s congressional redistricting).

Still, Trump carried virtually every county in the New York Republican presidential primary last month, including those in the 19th congressional district.

And Heaney may have his eye on the general election, too, should Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout be his opponent. Teachout, a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign, faces Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik in a primary.

Heaney has made the argument he’s better equipped to take on a political outsider like Teachout in an election year in which outsiders have flourished.

NY-19: D-Trip Gloats Over Contentious Primary

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is enjoying the heated primary for the Republican nomination in the 19th congressional district, sending out a sampling of the coverage of the race between John Faso and Andrew Heaney that describes the contest as nasty and a “war of words.”

“As the two Republican congressional candidates in New York’s 19th district, Albany conservative politician John Faso and Trump-Fanboy Andrew Heaney, continue to launch debilitating personal attacks and drag each other further to the right, they won’t be able to undo the damage in the eyes of Hudson Valley general election voters who voted for President Obama twice,” said Bryan Lesswing at the DCCC.

The race for the GOP nomination to replace Rep. Chris Gibson in the Hudson Valley House district is indeed a contentious one. Heaney, a businessman who hasn’t held elected office before, has criticized Faso’s record as a lobbyist. Faso, in turn, has knocked Heaney for his campaign contribution to President Obama in 2007.

Democrats have a primary of their own in the district between Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik and Zephyr Teachout, though that race has been no near as a heated.

The 19th congressional district has been a battleground for the last several cycles and an open seat means both parties will be pushing hard to either keep or flip it.

Still, a heated primary doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a party. Rep. Elise Stefanik two years ago faced off against Matt Doheny in a pitched battle for the Republican nomination in the 21st, and ultimately won the seat.

In the NY-1 on Long Island, Rep. Lee Zeldin fended off a personally financed challenge from George Demos and eventually unseated Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.

NY-19: Faso Releases New TV Ad, Heaney Slams Lack Of Debates

The heated race for the Republican nomination in 19th congressional district grew more pitched on Monday with John Faso releasing a TV ad knocking his GOP opponent, Andrew Heaney.

Heaney’s campaign, meanwhile, released an attack on Faso for not agreeing to a series of debates ahead of next month’s primary.

In the Faso campaign ad, Heaney is criticized as a “New York City millionaire” who has launched false attacks on Faso’s record as a lobbyist working with the firm Manatt Phelps.

And, as his campaign has done repeatedly, the ad knocks Heaney for donating to President Obama’s campaign in 2007.

New York Post columnist Fred Dicker is also featured in the spot, saying “there is no indication that Faso is guilty of the things Heaney is accusing him of.”

The Heaney campaign, however, is knocking Faso for his “reluctance” to agree to a series of three debates (including Time Warner Cable News among others) and pointed to Faso’s firm donating money to Democratic candidates through a political action committee.

The Heaney campaign, too, insists Faso should be tied more closely to the firm that employed him after he left elected office.

From the Heaney campaign:

But in fact John Faso was not just another employee at Manatt, he was a partner. According to a December 1, 2006 press release: “Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, announced today that John J. Faso rejoined the firm as a government and regulatory partner in New York following a leave of absence to undertake his New York gubernatorial campaign.”

John Faso was not just another employee he was the “Albany based partner lobbyist” upon which Manatt’s fine and ban were based. According to reports, even Faso’s lawyer, Steptoe & Johnson’s Evan Barr, identified him as the unamed Albany based partner “at the center of the investigation.”

Moreover there are multiple reports that indicate Faso unsuccessfully represented clients before the Comptrollers office. Most importantly, if Faso was just another employee, as he claims, the firm would have not been liable for his actions.

NY-19: Heaney Reiterates Calls For Federal And State Water Hearings

Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney on Friday renewed his calls for federal and state water quality hearings after Taconic Plastics in Petersburgh was declared a state superfund site after a chemical contamination was discovered in the town.

“What is the mystery?” Heaney said in a statement. “How many more communities need to go through this type of uncertainty and fear? Would Governor Cuomo and Speaker Heastie be more interested if these communities were named New York City or Buffalo?”

Rep. Chris Gibson, the Republican incumbent who retires this year and Heaney is vying to replace, has called for federal hearings on the contamination issues in the area, which this year also included the village of Hoosick Falls.

“I commend Congressman Gibson for joining my call for federal hearings, with the news in Petersburgh it’s clear the scope of the problem and the need for investigation is greater and more imminent than ever,” Heaney said.

The Democratic-led Assembly had initially suggested it would hold water quality hearings as well, but those plans never materialized. Speaker Carl Heastie this week said the issues facing Hoosick Falls had been largely resolved and the governor’s office had responded with its own task force to respond to water contamination issues.

In the wake of the DEC’s decision to designate Petersburgh as a Superfund site due to PFOA contamination, Republican candidate for Congress Andrew Heaney renewed his call for public hearings.

Also this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it had set a new standard for PFOA in water which lowers the parts per trillion level for safety.

NY-19: Heaney Knocks Obama Admin’s Bathroom Guidance

Republican congressional candidate Andrew Heaney on Friday became one of the first in New York to knock President Obama’s administration for advising public schools in the country to provide access to bathrooms for students based on their gender identity.

In a statement, Heaney compared the call — which came in the form of a letter — to the Common Core education standards, drawing a comparison over local control for school districts.

“It’s Common Core for restrooms and just the latest reason why we need to get the federal government out of schools and out of our lives,” Heaney said.

The letter from the Obama administration instructs school districts that students should be given access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The issue of public bathroom usage based on gender or gender identity briefly became an issue pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz during his presidential campaign, though his stance had little impact with Republican primary voters.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he doesn’t oppose people using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“Whether it’s Obamacare, Common Core or an assault on our 2nd Amendment rights, this directive is part and parcel of the attitude in Washington that distrusts and actually holds in disdain the American people and wants to micromanage our lives,” Heaney said.

The 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley is being vacated by Republican Chris Gibson. Heaney faces Republican John Faso in a GOP primary next month.